Spotlight: Paschal Petrongolo

Don't ask Paschal Petrongolo to write an essay titled, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."

He prefers not to remember.

Paschal, a heavy-hitting first baseman for Paul VI, didn't swing a bat all summer. He wore a brace after suffering two stress fractures in his back.

"I'm a kid who has played baseball every day in the summer since I was 6 years old," Petrongolo said. "Now I couldn't do anything. It was really tough."

Petrongolo said he injured his back from the "wear and tear" of baseball - all those years of all those swings. He was shut down by doctors at the end of June and wasn't cleared to swing again until Oct. 15.

"As soon as I got the brace off, I went right to the cage to hit," the senior said. "I couldn't wait to get there."

Petrongolo said he does a lot of stretching exercises to keep his back loose. He added that he doesn't have any restrictions.

Petrongolo leads Paul VI with four home runs. He is batting .400 with 11 walks, 16 runs, and 20 RBIs, and passed the 100-hit mark for his career earlier this season.

A lefthanded swinger, Petrongolo has signed to attend Jacksonville (Ala.) State on a baseball scholarship.

"They were with me all the way, even when I broke my back," Petrongolo said. "I went down there, and they treated me great. It's always been my dream to go south and play baseball and compete at the highest level."

   - Phil Anastasia